The Nintendo Switch is great for a lot of things, but when it comes to playing retro games, you’re better off looking at something like the SNES Classic than Nintendo’s current-generation console.
Or, if you’re like Tim Lindquist, a hardware modder / electrical engineering student at Iowa State University, you build your own Switch-esque console, which through the power of open-source emulation software, can not only play retro Nintendo games, but basically any retro title you can imagine, via Hackaday.
Lindquist’s device — cleverly called the “Nintimdo RP” — goes beyond being a simple Raspberry Pi emulator, though. Rather, like the actual Switch itself, its a full-fledged portable console. Lindquist’s build is a custom 3D-printed case, built around the ever-popular Raspberry Pi with an additional micro-controller for connecting the physical button inputs to the main processor. And the whole thing runs off a 10,000mAh battery, rechargeable by MicroUSB. On the software side, the Nintimdo RP runs RetroPie, with the professional looking EmulationStation on top to give it a more polished feel.
The device even improves on the Switch in some ways: there’s a 7-inch touchscreen that’s actually larger than the one on a real Switch. Ports are also improved — there’s an HDMI port, which automatically shuts off the screen and switches the video to a TV when plugged in for a Switch-like experience, along with two regular USB ports for plugging in accessories (given that it’s still running a version of Linux, you could even in theory plug in a mouse and keyboard and just use it as a computer).
All it’s really missing are the removable Joy-Con controllers — and since those work with Bluetooth there’s no reason why you couldn’t use them with the Nintimdo RP, either.
Lindquist has started to put up some of the source code and 3D models that you’d need to make your own on Github, with a more complete tutorial in the works for the future, too.